Friday, February 15, 2008

Stimulating The Economy

Lately, I've been doing some extra reading about the economy and it appears to me that those of us doing business in the United States are doing so in the midst of a recession . By all accounts, almost every leading indicator is trending downward to 1991 recession levels. As of last week, Gus Faucher, director of macroeconomics at Moody's, says in the near term "the probability that the U.S. will go into recession or is already in one is greater than 50%." As a small business owner whose customers are predominantly small business owners themselves, I am particularly interested in what this means for all of us.

According to the latest NFIB (National Federation of Independent Businesses) Small Business Economic Trends Report (Feb 2008) most of you are 'nervous' about where we're headed. Here are some recent findings:

  • Small Business Optimism fell 2.8 points to it's lowest levels since 1991.

  • A Net Negative 22% of small business owners expect conditions to improve within the next 6 months.

  • The percentage of small business owners citing inflation as their #1 problem doubled since November 2007.

  • The percent of small business owners who reported earning gains in 2007 is down 7 points since Decemeber 2007.

In addition to these results, if we take a step back and take a macro view of the U.S. economy we can also see where we things are headed...

  • The Feds Fund Rate has dropped significantly over the past few months. The falling rate demonstrates increased pessimism about the performance of the economy.

  • Moody's Survey of Business Confidence is slightly above 10%. This survey foreshadows future hiring and investment.

  • ABC/Washington Post Survey of Consumer Confidence is down 30 points since 2007.

Combine these indicators with the worst housing crisis the U.S. has ever faced, the de-valuation of the dollar, out of control deficits and skyrocketing energy costs and well... you get the picture.

Now I'll be honest, despite all of the negative sentiment and cold-hard facts about recession there has been one bright spot in the economy...

Fast Pitch!

During these difficult times, Fast Pitch! has continued to add more users and more subscribers every month since we launched in October 2006.

You're probably asking yourself... "How is this possible?"

Well, I would like to believe it's a direct result of our hard work and great technology, however I think that may explain only part of the story. Here's my theory:

As budgets tighten, small business owners seek out more creative and cost-effective ways to market themselves.

Think about it, almost every other form of marketing has become too costly for most small business owners. Competition from the Internet has forced print media, radio and television to alienate most small businesses by doubling their rates to off-set a declining number of potential advertisers. Even traditional forms of networking (chambers of commerce events, leads clubs, tradeshows, etc...) begin to lose their ROI as the costs (e.g. gas) of simply attending these events combined with their demand on people's time are called into question. Hence the reason why Fast Pitch! continues to grow.

No other form of marketing can match the ROI offered by participating in an online business network like Fast Pitch!

Where else can you meet hundreds of targeted customers, establish your footprint across the Internet, and increase your overall brand awareness... all from the comfort of your own office for the price of 2 cups of coffee per month?

In the spirit of these tough times, we recently decided to do our small part to stimulate the economy by reducing our membership rates by nearly 50%. Hopefully our lower rates will allow more small business owners the opportunity to meet new people, enhance their visibility across the Internet and ultimately generate more business. One could even argue that the 'Fast Pitch! Stiumlus Package', which saves businesses about $400 per year in marketing costs, does more for the economy than giving households $600 to spend at Wal-Mart. :)

The cost to become a Premium Member is now only $9 per month. At $9 per month, Fast Pitch! now offers the least expensive membership package of any other online business network in the U.S. (And... we continue to offer more features). We also reduced the cost of our Platinum Membership by 45% (now only $27 per month). Now more than ever is a great time to consider taking advantage of all of our features. I'm confident you will not find a more effective way to market your business for the price.

To learn more about upgrading your membership and making Fast Pitch! an integral part of your marketing plan for 2008 visit:



Blogger Rich said...

Great column. Well researched and well written.

The best part is the positive attitude on the part of the writer. Every economic downturn has an upside. Businesses must take advantage of the upside.

7:41 AM  

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